Automated relationship building is a phrase I would use to describe the beginning stages of relationships in a digital world.
It’s based on the premise that times have changed. That often our initial and early phase of any business relationship is digital.
Automated Relationship Building
OK, so what exactly do I mean? Have I lost my mind? Possibly, but let’s explore this concept further.
Nearly half of our society grew up amid the internet and mobile devices. In other words, one out of every two people in the world only knows digital. Whereas the other half often struggles with “the internet.” Forget about digital. That’s subject of another post.
This younger, digital generation prefers to use these powerful tools for almost anything.
From staying in touch with friends to researching anything, they are attached to their devices. The productivity allowed is priceless.
What Says The Data
Nearly 50% of people prefer to research online. Whether it is a website or search. They’d rather interact on their own. At their own pace. And without the interference of others.
Data says that 96% of all internet traffic is doing anything buy buying at that moment. Granted some of the data is skewed towards video and other forms of entertainment.
But it points to the reality that today we research. A lot. Before we make a purchase we do our best to learn if it’s the right product. If we can possibly save a few dollars. We want to know what others are saying so we read reviews.
Have a question about a product while in a store? Google it and get answers faster than waiting for a sales associate. Need store hours? It’s easiest to just ask Siri.
So often, before we ever make the decision to purchase anything, we have already formed opinions. Whether the data used to form those opinions is accurate or not, who knows. We hope it is. We form the best opinions we can with the resources we have.
And often we have an affinity to whoever provided those resources to us. They gave us something for free. Our relationship was formed, not through a transaction. But rather the unconditional sharing of knowledge.
Granted we never met each other. And yet somehow an affinity was formed. Talk about impersonal. But it’s the reality of life in a digital world.
I can attest to this as someone who once monetized a blog. I wrote for a few years and created a following through my words. But I never met nor spoke with anyone of my followers.
Then one day I flipped a switch, and turned my free blog into a paid site. Over night I had a lot of paid subscribers.
Why? Because a trust was formed. For a year or longer I shared my thoughts and research at no cost. I was making regular deposits in the emotional bank accounts of my readers.
So I find it a bit ironic that we have now automated relationship building. It sounds so impersonal. And strange. It certainly does not sound like a healthy relationship.
But here’s the irony. The healthiest of relationships are those based on mutual trust. Old school if you will. A gentleman’s handshake.
So one could argue that the process of forming relationships has changed. No more face to face time. Handshakes have been replaced with the flow of data.
But aside from the process, it’s hard to argue with the result.
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